BRENTWOOD — After competing in Class AAA for as long as the three-class system has existed in Tennessee high school basketball, Columbia Central now finds itself still in the top class -- that being Class AAAA, with the advent of a new system.
In their first District 12-AAAA matchup, the Lions were able to ‘tough out’ a 57-54 victory at Ravenwood and improve to 14-2 on the season.
But it wasn’t easy to start.
Ravenwood was clicking on the offensive end to begin the game, spearheaded by 11 early points by D.J. Starr.
Q Martin was reunited with his backcourt mate Jordan Davis, who did not play Tuesday against Overton. Together they kept the Lions within striking distance even with the Raptors' hot start.
Despite battling foul trouble, Martin led the team in scoring at the half, with 11 points, but the Lions still were facing a six-point deficit.
Coach Nick Campbell urged his team to step up their intensity and the Lions did exactly that in the second half.
“We got a little momentum going into halftime, I thought our bench was really engaged,” he said. “The senior leadership on this team is great, we really just played well in the second half.”
In the third quarter, Columbia only allowed Ravenwood to score five points. Martin took the challenge of guarding Starr, who was the leading scorer at the time.
“It was challenging for sure, he flashed his game early,” said Martin,who held Starr scoreless for the quarter.
On offense, Bubba Perkins and Davis shouldered the load, prompting a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite a late push by Ravenwood, Columbia was able to escape with the three-point victory behind 19 points from Jordan Davis.
“I couldn’t wait to be back. It’s been killing me but I’m back,” said Davis, who did not specify the circumstances of his Tuesday absence.
“He brings a lot of confidence to our team, he’s a great player on offense and defense,” Campbell said. “Sometimes people forget he’s only a sophomore.”
Lady Lion attack not enough
Columbia Central seniors Josie Parks and Janiyha Riley teamed for 47 points Friday, but couldn't overcome Ravenwood's triple threat of Reghan Grimes, Elizabeth Flynn and Natalie Prestegaard in a 72-61 loss.
Central fell behind early, but stayed close through the opening period behind Parks. A slow start to the second quarter added insult to injury, as the Lady Raptors scored 11 straight points to start the period.
The latter half of the quarter proved to be different, and once again it was Parks, who knocked down two of her four first-half 3-pointers in the second quarter. The Lady Raptors nearly gave up their margin but were able to enter the break leading by two points.
The Lady Lions came out of halftime with supreme intensity, led by Riley (21 points) and Parks, who turned defense into offense with steals. Each knocked down key jumpers to bring Columbia Central closer.
“I thought we were going to pull away at times but '32' (Parks) and '15' kept hitting big shots,” Ravenwood coach Andrew James said.
After a hot start led to a 44-42 lead, the Lady Lions surrendered seven straight points in the final minutes of the third.
Grimes owned the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of her game-high 29 points in the final eight minutes and hitting seven of eight free throw attempts.
The Lady Lions were unable to keep the Tennessee Tech signee off the glass, leading to multiple second-chance opportunities.
“She and Flynn are unbelievable rebounders, they just know where the ball is going to go,” James said. “They knew they would have the opportunity to get some, and we felt like we could take advantage of the rebounding situation tonight.”
Parks finished with six 3-pointers among her team-high 26 points.
Ravenwood girls 72, Columbia Central 61
C 15 16 15 15 -- 61
R 18 15 16 23 -- 72
Columbia Central (61) -- Josie Parks 26, Janiyha Riley 21, Saviya Morgan 6, Ryleigh Hamm 4, Anaya Mulholland 2, Tionna Davis 2
Ravenwood (72) -- Reghan Grimes 29, Elizabeth Flynn 14, Natalie Prestegaard 12, Emma Rayl 9, Alexis Parson 8
3-pointers — Columbia Central 9 (Parks 6, Riley 2, Hamm), Ravenwood 6 (Prestegaard 3, Rayl 3)
Columbia Central boys 57, Ravenwood 54
C 18 14 16 9 -- 57
R 23 15 5 11 -- 54
Columbia Central (57) — Jordan Davis 19, Roni Bailey 5, A.J. Pillow 1, Bubba Perkins 17, Q Martin 15
Ravenwood (54) — Matthew Williams 12, Malcolm Hamilton 1, Lee Molette 4, Evan Gainer 2, Andrew Lamuno 6, D.J. Starr 16, Brent Shelby 2, Jake Mulder 11
3-pointers — Columbia Central 5 (Davis, Perkins 3, Martin), Ravenwood 8, (Williams 4, Lamuno, Starr 3)